It was a few days before Christmas when Nicki and I zoomed up Yonge Street in an absolutely dreadful storm. Toronto had been slow to embrace winter and it seemed as though rain was having a bit of a tug of war with the seasons first attempted blizzard. Colossal snow flakes whipped themselves onto the windshield and gushed into puddles of slush. After parking we both scampered across the street trying our best to dodge the inclement elements. I took a quick snap shot of the restaurants sign on Yonge Street and then whisked myself into Trapper’s warm interior.
Trapper’s officially opened its doors in 1985, the very year I was born. The restaurant has always been focussed on showcasing Canadian continental cuisine and most recently underwent an interior redesign and menu revitalization. As I stood at the entrance by the bar I couldn’t help but wonder how the notion of “Canadian Cuisine” has changed over the past 27 years. My mother has mentioned many-a-time, “the only lettuce you could ever buy back then was head lettuce and now look at the crazy variety we have at our fingertips every time we peruse the grocery store.”
It seems today culinary trends are changing far quicker than they were back in the 80’s and 90’s. Much of this stems from the publics fascination with the Food Network, celebrity chefs and a competitive hospitality market place where diners are being educated at the table. Our exuberance for food has also extrapolated due to an accessible global tourism industry, click-away internet resources and liberal immigration policy which exposes us all to a more colourful spectrum of flavours and textures.
I walked through the dining room and smiled as it was all dressed up for the holiday season: festive garlands and twinkling lights. Framed Hudson Bay blankes decorate the walls creating a relaxed Canadiana sensibility. It was clear one large table was hosting their Christmas party as everyone had wee santa and christmas tree adorned gift bags resting by their ankles.
Whisking my way through the restaurants rather large menu it is clear the kitchen is doing its best to showcase Canada’s finest ingredients: Mussels from PEI, Brome Lake duck from Quebec, Rainbow Trout from Muskoka, organic chicken from Ontario, Alberta Veal Chop, fresh Atlantic Salmon and a selection of wines from Niagara.
Trapper’s offers its pasta dishes as appetizer or entre sized portions (which I rarely see these days but do appreciate). Favourites included grilled prawn and sea scallop, lamb tenderloin, filet mignon and pork loin. The restaurant succeeds with its surf and turf expertise but its exhaustive menu seems to please too many people all at once.
We sampled (* notes my favorites)
Grilled Prawn and Seared Sea Scallop *
pineapple, mango risotto with lobster chive cream sauce and caviar
Lamb Tenderloin Wrapped in Prosciutto *
wild mushroom risotto, honey mustard, roasted garlic, rosemary jus
wild boar, hot italian and bison sausages, three coloured peppers, bermuda onions, basil tomato sauce
Filet Mignon *
wrapped in bacon, jump fried button mushrooms and trapper’s fries
Roast Pork Loin *
three peppercorn crust, port wine, apples, figs, pecan glaze
Oven Roast Breast of Brome Lake Duckling
grilled oranges, maple, balsamic reduction
Grilled Jumbo Prawns
angel hair pasta, lobster cognac chive cream sauce
Trio of Mini Dacquoise
cappucino, caramel, hazelnut praline
#413 restaurant reviewed in Ontario since moving to Toronto in 2010.